Tuesday, 28 September 2010

done - ish

Well, we are out of our house and surprised to find internet available in the TLF (on base hotel thingy).

This morning was a little tense, as the final bit of stuff (that went in a separate shipment directly to my parents' house) was to be packed "between 8 and 5" but we had our house inspection scheduled for 1pm and had to have it all out by then. At 12 we called to reschedule the inspection for tomorrow, but they said to go ahead with it and try to work a deal with the inspector when he arrived. As it turned out, I took the children out to lunch and the movers and the inspector arrived at the same time. So Bob vaguely watched the packing while following the inspector around and wiping up any stray dust that was found. He said the inspector really checked everything, but was pleased with what we'd done. That's never happened before. It's either they don't really check, or they find millions of things wrong. But since I was out, I had my house keys with me, so the man had to come back by to get the keys. Oops. They didn't mind too much.

So we got our old room at TLF - the one we moved into when the heat quit in our first room, way back almost 3 years ago. They have ONE baking sheet, and it doesn't fit in the oven! Yikes. I bought a disposable pan, and Taryn made biscuits, Bob made eggs, and I made chocolate gravy for our supper tonight. It was nice to not be eating out for a change. For breakfast I got some Eggo waffles - I never get those things, but somehow I had a craving for them yesterday.

Anyway, we're here now and on our way. Bittersweet.

Friday, 24 September 2010



Link for new or used mothers who need a laugh, or dose of indignation or gratitude or memory lane.

Day one of packing was just 1 guy who packed the bedroom stuff (not beds) and part of the den. We volunteered to pack books, so he brought in some boxes and went home.

Day two was guy 1 plus another guy who has 5 young children so felt quite at home. They finished up the den and most of the living room and dining room. 3 other guys showed up and they loaded two crates and went home.

Now we have Sat and Sun to clean the house (around the boxes) and get ready for...

Monday they all come back to pack the outside stuff, kitchen, beds, and whatever else got left; put it all in the crates.

Tuesday they come pack our "fast" shipment which should arrive in 4-6 weeks and is currently stored in my bedroom closet. We hope they come early because our house inspection and turning over of the keys is Tuesday at 1:30. Yeah. Military won't give us a single day to actually clean the house, and we don't want to give them a day either.

Then we will be in TLF - a hotel - for 3 days while Bob does any remaining paperwork, and then we head for London for 2 days before flying home.

Bob lost a pair of jeans yesterday, so today we went and bought another pair. We wonder if I actually packed clothes for everybody, so we will re-do all the suitcases to make sure. Cause planning only works if you don't have Swiss cheese for brains.

Speaking of cheese, a couple from church had us to dinner Tuesday and served cheese and fig tart which was very good. She said she'll come by tomorrow and help clean. IT was a great visit and the children behaved very well and Elijah was comfortable with them and I know my writing has gone bad but there you go. :-)
Don't know when I'll blog next so trying to shove it all in. And now it's bed time.

Monday, 13 September 2010


sorry for the lapse in blog posts lately. I expect y'all to assume I'm busy getting the house ready to move. ahem.

We had the housing inspector out last week, and he was gracious. Of all the fiddly bits, we are only being charged for one set of miniblinds, which cost about $100. He asked us to clean the walls in preparation for re-painting, but told us not to worry about patching holes or cleaning the carpet. He was impressed that I'd done my own inventory when we moved in, as most people don't bother. I'm glad, too, as it saved us having to replace the kitchen cabinet that was broken when we moved in.

We've sorted and cleaned and packed; shopped, planned, and searched. We exchanged anniversary presents on the 11th, the day of our legal marriage, as it was a Saturday. We both got the other a Celtic cross on slate. :-D

There have been some interesting stories, but right now I can't think of them. Today I'm making croissants for dinner. If they turn out well I may start making my own chocolate ones, as outside sources are unreliable.

I drove the Mini the other day. It kept freaking me out to not have to shift.
So, yeah. Not blogging so much. :-)

Saturday, 11 September 2010


Just found a blog in my favorites list and took a gander. Ran into the following and it sums up quite a bit of how I felt after reading the New Testament through in 5 days.

The kingdom of God is not and has never been about political activism. It is not about restoring America to the good old days that never were. Jesus was not interested in overthrowing the Roman government when he walked among men, and He isn’t interested in overthrowing the democrats in November, 2010.

You know it pains me to admit that given my well documented and deep-seated aversion for liberalism and the Democratic party agenda which I believe stands in violent opposition to God’s word and godly principles. But the truth is the truth.

The best thing Christians can do is fall on our faces before our Merciful Heavenly Father, repent for our materialistic, selfish, watered down gospel, and be about our Father’s business in our own house, on our own streets and in our own churches if we want to see change on a national level.

the blog is here http://terrybreathinggrace.wordpress.com/

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Customer service

Just to change things up a bit, I thought I’d share some positive experiences. :-D
Remember Bob bought an ’84 Austin Mini a while back. He’s driven it a few times, but was noticing it tended to die rather than idle. So recently he took it to Cooper’s Garage in Mildenhall. (Funnily enough, Cooper is the owner’s name, but over time he has become a specialist in the Mini Cooper.) He had an appointment, and they started work right away. Bob watched for awhile, and they found several little things which really needed repairing, but then it came to something that would take awhile so Bob left the car there overnight. The next day the work was done and they had a nice detailed invoice of parts and labor. Then they (not Bob) suggested he could have it VAT free if he took the invoice up to the base and played the VAT office games. So we did that, saving 50GBP; they were happy to wait several days to get paid.

Bob drove it for a couple of days and decided that the carburetor really did need to be replaced, so he took it back up there. At the same time, to take full advantage of tax free, he ordered all the extra parts he’d need in the foreseeable future. They took time and made phone calls to get our list right, and when the carburetor came in they put it on for free. Again they had to wait a couple of days to get paid. When Bob took the money back to them he noticed the car acting funny again, so asked for the mechanic. He dropped what he was doing, looked at Bob’s car, made an adjustment and took a drive with him to check it out. Bob remembered another part he needed, and the man got that for him. When Bob started to get out of his car to go pay for the last part, the man said there was no charge for that, or this day’s work. They’d “taken too long” to get it fixed. All this, knowing we are fixing to leave the country and couldn’t do any thing if they didn’t get it right. So there is an honest mechanic still in the world! Anybody looking for a good mechanic in Mildenhall or Lakenheath, Cooper’s Garage is the place to go.

Another experience we had started off not so great. Tuesday the BXtra hosted a family Bingo, and the children wanted to go, so we did. It is free to play, so we don’t consider it gambling, plus we learned a lot about the odds of winning. Anyway, we ate there, too. Burger King was behind (as usual), but this time they actually lost our order. Bob took the receipt up there and they tried again. Then when we got the food, Bob got a single instead of the double. He took it back up to the counter, and the man slapped another meat patty on top. Ooo, Bob was furious! He went back AGAIN, told the whole story to the manager (general manager of the whole facility, I think). This time they made it right, and to make up for it he gave Bob a free meal card. A few minutes later another employee came out to our table and gave Bob another free meal card. And then after we’d eaten the shift supervisor came over to me (Bob was out with Elijah) and apologized, saying she knew we were regulars, and were always nice, and she was really sorry.

As for the Bingo, we had a sheet of “cards” for each family member, and played 10 rounds (a total of 90 games, y’all!) and didn’t win once. Can you imagine if we were playing for even $1 per game? I hope the children remember this and don’t ever try to gamble. But the family next to us won twice, and one of their prizes was a game “Don’t Break the Ice” which they already had. Instead of trying to exchange it, they offered it to our family for free. We were very grateful and prayed blessings on them for their kindness. We also learned to be glad for others and enjoy the game for the sake of playing. Lots of good things happening there.

Monday, 6 September 2010

oh, yeah pt 2 and Friday

Another thing I forgot to mention about the big vacation is that I kept track of expenses for about 10 days, and we averaged 84GBP per day for all our eating, driving, shopping, and sightseeing. That doesn’t include the cottages, which were about that much again, and I think it’s a good figure for 8 people living it up. There were things we didn’t do because of the cost (such as a ride on a narrow gauge railway, that would have been over 50GBP for 1 hour), but we never lacked for a good time.

Back to the present.
Friday, Bob had an appointment at the sleep center in London, to check on his sleeping habits since he got the CPAP machine. We all went along for a nice day out. The weather Thursday was iffy, and Friday started off pretty chill, so we took our jackets. We left about 7am, stopped at Burger King for breakfast on the road, and headed to Epping. We arrived at the Tube station there at 8, but the parking lot was already full, so we found the long term parking in town. It was nearly empty, and cost 2.80 for all day. Some people needed a toilet, and there was one there, but it was locked. SO we headed over to the grocery store in hopes that they had facilities, but half-way around Bob realized there was a new pay toilet in the parking lot. Turns out the “smart” toilets aren’t that bright either, and we all got in for 10p. As it didn’t have toilet tissue and the sink didn’t work, I don’t feel like we were stealing from them. (Thankfully, I carry toilet paper with me in lieu of tissues, so we were able to remain sanitary.)

We walked down the hill to the station, and hopped aboard a train. This time we did things differently. We didn’t take a stroller. Or lunch, or even the camera bag. I had Elijah in my “pouch,” Taryn had the diaper bag, Cedwryck carried one bottle of water, and Bob just had his camera and extra battery. It’s been so long since we’ve been down that William thought the Tube was very exciting, and watched the rails and the passing trains with great interest.

Since we didn’t have the stroller, we managed to pick stations where we didn’t have to go up and down stairs much. Epping, of course, has no stairs; we changed at Mile End where the next train departed from the same level platform; we got off at Westminster, which has an elevator. Typical.

At Westminster we walked past Big Ben and turned up Whitehall, past 10 Downing Street, and to the horse guards. I’ve seen the changing of the guard at Buckingham, but hadn’t seen the horse guards, and as they do it every day I thought it’d be nice to see. Well. We were there early (about 10:30), and crowds started to build up as we played in the gravel. The show started at 11, and consisted of 7 horses with black-coated riders walking in, lining up, and waving their swords around (uh, the riders waved swords, not the horses). Then 7 horses and red-coated riders came in, lined up facing the others, waved their swords, and half of each company walked away. Then they stood there for 30 minutes. And then the old guard came out, joined with the ones standing there, and they all left together. That was it.

With that excitement over, and all the children well-coated in gravel and dirt, we walked up to Trafalgar Square. The lions are fenced off (apparently they do concerts there in the summer), but there are fountains there now (I don’t remember fountains in ’94), and feeding the pigeons is illegal. So we looked around, used the toilets, Azariah got lost… hehehe. Riah had gone into the toilet with Cedwryck, and I told them to stay together. Bob came out and walked 5 steps away from where we had been while I went in. When I came out I saw Bob with the children, and then, 10 feet away, Azariah was crying. My first thought was that Bob had got onto him for climbing on the fountain, but no; Riah came out of the toilets and didn’t see anybody. Ced had come out just a minute before, and HE saw Bob just fine, but the boys didn’t stay together like I said and Riah thought he was left behind. His grief was short-lived.

We went into the National Gallery for lunch at the National CafĂ©. It was expensive and messy (they use crumbled cheese on their sandwiches instead of sliced cheese). But we felt better for having food. From there it was a short walk up to Charing Cross station, where we took the tube up to Regent’s Park station. We still had lots of time so we went on to the park and let the children play at the playground for awhile. Bob left to go to his appointment, and was back before we got bored.

We walked on through the park, to Queen Mary’s garden, which was really lovely, and I wish we had made it up there with Mom and Dad as we’d talked about doing before we went to the Eye last year, and Dad got ill and had to go back to his hotel. Bob took some nice pictures there, we used toilets again, and started back towards home. Tube, change, Tube, and we were back in Epping. We talked about going to Old Orleans restaurant, which I’ve been talking about visiting to celebrate our 14th anniversary, but considering our excited, tired, and dirty state, we decided to just go to McDonald’s. This is the one McDonald’s in the UK with a playplace, and Bob says their quarter pounders are the best. We didn’t play too long; just enough to have a break.

Saw a lovely sunset on the way home, and in all we were satisfied with our day. We did what we’d set out to do, had a nice balance of walking and riding, and oh yeah, the weather… Naysha and Cedwryck took their jackets with them, but those of us who bet on the sun were right. I’ve never seen such lovely weather in London. Fluffy white clouds here and there, but never a hint of rain. Warm, but not hot at all (except in the subway tunnels). Just perfect, really.